I knew the name… but wasn’t all that familiar with their sound until someone passed me “Mixed For Feet Vol. 1”. I took notice. The release is incredible. I was initially impressed with the album cover. The balloons made me curious. The album, since it’s volume 1, must have more songs coming. But this is a great start. The album has a lot of progression, and offers a lot for the listener. I did learn that these guys took a break at one point in their career… but are back and better than ever. I enjoy researching an artist before and after the interview… and I can’t stop listening to this album. Anyway, it was fun chatting with these two. (That seems to be a trend… several guys on the decks up there producing beats.) These guys will also be appearing at Electric Zoo. It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Gabriel & Dresden.
The summer is winding down… but that means it’s time for Electric Zoo! Are you guys stoked to be a part of the lineup this year?
Absolutely! We have both played Electric Zoo as solo acts and worked with Made Event for years. There is a certain style and quality to Made Event parties that has allowed Mike and Laura to be able to put on shows of this magnitude. We are expecting to have a great time!
I sometimes ask an artist where the name came from… for example, The Chemical Brothers or Theory of a Deadman. But your name sort of just came naturally. What made you decide to call yourselves Gabriel & Dresden?
We were really just being lazy. We were planning on our working together being something we did on the side. We never imagined or considered it a possibility that we were going to make the impact we did. We came up with the name upon finishing up our first remix, which was New Order’s Someone Like You. It took a total of one minute to decide that we were going to call ourselves “Gabriel & Dresden” – it just had a much better ring than “Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden”
You guys are originally from San Francisco, California. I love that area. Do you guys still live on the West Coast?
Actually, Dave is originally from Connecticut and Josh is from Santa Monica, California. We worked together on our first run of music in the Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland). Now… Josh lives in Amsterdam and I lived in Oakland.
What happened in 2008? You guys had a hiatus from 2008 – 2011.
We took a break from doing Gabriel & Dresden to focus on our individual music careers. Before the split we spent over six years day in and day out either in the studio, on a plane, or performing together. We needed perspective, and that is was the break gave us.
Tell me a little bit more about Organized Nature.
Organized Nature is a label we set up to release our own music under. We were finding it increasingly harder to find label partners who understood our musical vision. Having our own label to release music meant we could get our fans the music we wanted to make without compromise. We are planning on continuing on with Organized Nature for our new releases.
How cool was it to win the WMC award not once… but twice?
It was really cool, to be honest… because it was from the fans.
You guys are all over Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud… how do you guys keep all of these social media outlets straight? Speaking of social media in general, in your opinion how has the Internet changed the way people absorb music?
We have been communicating with our fans via social media pretty much from the beginning of G&D. We started on Friendster, moved to MySpace, etc…We feel a large part of our early success was because we kept fans up to date every few days via our MySpace blog. Nowadays, being on social media is just part of the job. It can be overwhelming with all the tweets and messages, but it’s a great way to understand the minds and lives of your fans while also cultivating a group of dedicated people around the world who help you get the message out.
As for the impact the Internet has had on electronic music, it really cannot be measured. But when you hear acts like Tiësto and Deadmau5 being mentioned alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon, you have the Internet to thank. The Internet has removed the gatekeepers who were holding EDM back for years. The fans were given the chance to hear it and they were into it.
What’s on your iPod right now? Who are you listening to these days?
The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. You can get it on iTunes. Rogan is a stand-up comedian who also is also a commentator for the UFC and host of the show Fear Factor. Don’t let any of this fool you. He goes over topics of the day, conspiracies, celebrity gossip, and sometimes has other comedians as guests. We also love music such as Zola Jesus, Fever Ray, Yaz, The Cure, Siouxie & The Banshees, Depeche Mode, The XX, M83 and yes, we do listen to and love Deadmau5 & Calvin Harris.
I was at Electric Zoo last year… and I have to say, it’s a sick festival. This year they moved it to three days. You guys are playing on the Red Bull Riverside stage on Sunday. Got anything special in store for the performance?
We are going to debut a new song we’ve been working on the last couple of weeks called No Reservations. It’s a collaboration we did with two up and coming dubstep producers from DC who call themselves Secret Panda Society. It sounds like a unique twist on the G&D sound by using a more dubstep sound palette while staying within the boundaries people musically expect from us.
Speaking of your performance, what can a fan expect from seeing you two live?
We always say expect the unexpected. Our sound is definitely evolving but we still manage to fit in a lot of the songs people hope to hear at a Gabriel & Dresden show. We’ve done a lot of mash-ups, remixes and other additional production to a lot of our most loved classics.
In your time apart you both kept producing tunes… did that help you when you recently came back together for another go at it?
Absolutely! We both worked with a lot of other people in the time apart and just learning new and different ways to communicate musically. We also had a lot of time to understand what our roles were within the band and to really zero in on these things for each other so that we can get ideas down faster.
You made quite a return, too. Your first show back was at the Hollywood Palladium. With all of the shows that you guys play, is it possible to pick a favorite venue?
That’s a really hard thing for any artist to do. That said, Electric Daisy Carnival Dallas, Anjunabeats at The Ice Palace, Miami, Guaba Beach Bar in Limassol, Cyprus and The Guvernment in Toronto stand out as pretty fantastic shows so far this year.
What’s a typical Friday night look like for you two?
Over the last few months it’s generally been spent on a stage somewhere playing to thousands of people.
Identity Festival just kicked off last week. Are you going to get the chance to see that show anywhere along the way?
Not this year. But it looks like a solid tour with a great lineup and dropping in cities that don’t get to experience festivals all that often. Dance music is finally big enough in America to be able to do this.
Does it ever get crowded up there with two of you? Most guys are flying solo up there behind the decks.
Not usually. Most DJ booths have accommodations for many people because there are a lot more multi-artist acts touring around now and playing together the whole show.
What’s the deal with the album art for “Mixed for Feet Vol. 1”? Balloons?
We do not like to put our faces on the covers of our albums. We want the music to speak for itself. We had a photographer set up a bunch of different backgrounds and props and just start shooting. We immediately loved the picture when we saw it and knew we had to use it on Mixed For Feet. The messing around of our logo on the cover is intentional. It was broken up so that it would pop on top of that very striking photo.
Since you are playing at Electric Zoo… what’s your favorite zoo animal?
We both like lions. They are the king of the jungle…err, zoo!